Shurmurball: The Final Chapter

by Cleveland Frowns on December 30, 2012

No matter what happens to the Browns in Pittsburgh today, Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert will almost certainly be fired within 24 hours of the game ending, with the only question left in how long it takes for the organization to make the announcement. This will be the final nail in the coffin of the most illegitimate regime in Cleveland Browns history, and nobody shouldn’t be thankful for that.

Pat Shurmur, Jimmy Haslam

Still, of course, we have no real idea what’s coming next, so brace yourselves for things like Mike Lombardi, articles about how the Browns should make an extremely Luck-y 60-year-old career coordinator their next head coach, ones about how they should retain Dick Jauron, the genius architect of the league’s eighth-worst defense, and worse.

In the meantime, here’s your Thad Lewis field guide courtesy of Samer Kalaf at Deadspin, and here’s another good read on Phil Dawson, this one by Zac Jackson.

Salute to Phil as well as Josh Cribbs once more, and enjoy the final Shurmurball open thread for all time.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    OK, so the Cardinals are really going to fire Ken Whisenhunt?

    Obviously the ranking of acceptable head coaching candidates is 1. Mangini, 2. Saban, but if the Cardinals really can Whisenhunt, he’d have to be right up there. The idea of a contender in Arizona was almost as unthinkable as the idea of one in Cleveland before Whiz got there, and I think we should all be willing to give him a pass for the John Skelton years.

    Also, this is a good year-end-type read by Will Leitch at Deadspin:

    • jaws.

      I don’t think you can knock arians for succeeding because he had quarterbacks (Manning, Roethlisberger, Now Luck) and then turn around and push Whisenhunt. The success he had in arizona was largely due to Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald being hall of famers.

      All this talk about finding a guy with ‘nfl experience’ is a joke. I can’t stand it. Right now the Seahawks, 49ers and (to a lesser extent because of their swiss-cheese roster) Redskins are flipping the script on the NFL. They don’t need to ‘Suck for Luck’ or find a hidden Tom Brady-level gem to be superbowl contenders. Unheralded Russel Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are directing two of the league’s most explosive offenses. RG3 is the most efficient quarterback in the league – as a rookie with limited talent around him. The read-option running game is about to be a big deal in the league. Browns should jump on the Chip Kelly train and get on the cutting edge. We’ve averaged about 5 wins a year since the return. That counts the two fluke above .500 teams.

      • Cleveland Frowns

        Warner and Fitzgerald helped, of course, but that was far from a two-man team. It was a team that was obviously greater than the sum of its parts. Whisenhunt is 10 years younger than Arians and has proven much more.

        Also, if the Seahawks and Niners are flipping the script on the NFL it’s largely because they have two of the best (if not the two best) defenses in the league. Whisenhunt’s Cards might be right behind them if they had even C-minus-level QB play.

        • jaws.

          I’ll agree that no nfl team is a one or two man outfit, but the fact remains that you need an ELITE NFL qb to be a superbowl contender. Currently there are about 6: Brady, Brees, Rogers, Manning, Manning, and Roethlisberger. The only way you beat those guys in the postseason is to have your guy step up and become one of them; or you have a “03 bucs” level defense. Finding the next one of those guys is proving to be the toughest proposition in the league.

          Meanwhile the seahawks were finding themselves as a mediocre offense early this season before committing to run a lot of zone read: Now Russell Wilson is the most efficient passer in the last 6 weeks and the seahawks have put up 40-50 every week and blown everyone out. We saw late last week against denver how good your defense starts to look when you are up 3 touchdowns.

          Admittedly, Whisenhunt has had basically nothing to work with in arizona as far as quarterbacks or offensive linemen; but he did just lose 59-0 a couple weeks ago.

          Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the zone read is some magic scheme that will dominate forever or anything: I just think that the biggest factor is that you don’t need an ELITE pocket passer to run it. Chip could probably win with Vick, or Dennis Dickson, or Tebow, or somebody else that you don’t have to trade 3 first round picks for. If you can turn a guy that nobody values that highly into your franchise QB: That’s a huge deal, and the biggest reason I like Chip.

          • Cleveland Frowns

            Kurt Warner was a good QB as a 37-year old in 2008. He also had obvious limitations.

            Kelly might be great, but Whisenhunt is a very good NFL head coach. He’s proven it. I can’t say I have any real reason to prefer one over the other.

            To suggest that the Seahawks defense has benefited more from the offense than vice versa is just ludicrous.

        • WooMike
    • Chris Mc

      Ken Whisenhunt would be perfectly fine with me. However, it’s fairly well known that Bill Bidwell is one of the cheapest owners in football. Since Whisenhunt’s contract runs through 2014, I doubt that Bidwell is the type of guy that would pay a coach to go away.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA “Browns might have to compete against Tom Heckert for coaching candidates”

    Quake with fear, people, of Heckert unearthing the next Pat Shurmur.

    • atdietz80

      The new team better have a QB in place. Chips ahoy and Brandon Weeden are two steaming piles of crap. Heckert proved that he can draft D-line, DT, DE, defensive line, and 4-3 defensive linemen.

    • Cranky M

      You’re going to miss Heckert. Years from now, you will look back on him as the best GM we’ve had. Mark my words. Hard to hold Weeden and McCoy against him when Holmgren forced those picks (by all accounts).

      • BIKI024

        based on his rep as a draftnik, he probably wasn’t in favor of mortgaging all those picks for RG3 either, but if the kid continues to have the career as good as it’s started, unfortunately years from now he’ll be known as the guy who missed out on RG3.

        but i’m with you, but as good as RG3 has started, i still would trade him for Schwartz (Pro Bowler next year), Gordon (future Pro Bowler), TRich (Pro Bowler next year), Weeds (albeit jury still out), and next year’s pick, which will either be the #6 or #7 pick.

        but overall Heckert’s done an exceptional job of rebuilding the team for the next GM, not only with the current 53 but with the cap flexibility we have for the future.

        • atdietz80

          A little generous with the Pro Bowl cred, Biki. How many times do you plan on voting next year?

          • BIKI024

            i will put any money that Schwartz, Gordon and TRich will make the Pro Bowl at some point in next 4 seasons. what kind of odds you want to give me??

          • atdietz80

            That all three will make the Pro Bowl in the next four years? 20-1.

          • BIKI024

            what’s the max bet?

          • atdietz80

            Whatever playoff tickets go for. I’ll have to get with Mike Holmgren on that.

          • BIKI024

            you can find him on the beach, or on his deck

          • atdietz80

            btw, it’s very hard for right tackles to make the pro bowl. Left tackles usually claim two spots.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I saw him at The Scooter Store getting a Margarita Machine installed on his Rider Royale 4.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Not TRich

        • rodofdisaster

          Wasn’t Holmgren the one who couldn’t follow the directions?

          • BIKI024

            i’m sure since the buck stopped with him, but who cares, i’m glad they didn’t make that deal.

          • Cleveland Frowns

            This is so completely ridiculous to me.

          • BIKI024

            good for you

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I am with you on this one Biki,

            The RG3 deal would have been a disaster for the Browns.

            How many hits a year would RG3 take from Haloti Ngata, James Harrison and a cast of favorites in the AFC North?

            I really like RG3, but if Demarcus Ware was half awake and even remotely confident in their last game, Kirk Cousins would be leading the Redskins into the playoffs.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            He was trying to build something Rod’o and we all know that when one is building something the first thing to do is to throw away the directions.

        • Yahmule

          One advantage to a guy like Griffin is he would make Cleveland a much more desirable destination for free agents.

          • Cranky M

            No, he wouldn’t. This isn’t the NBA.

          • Yahmule

            I gave up on the NBA about eight years ago. Thankfully, there really isn’t a relevant comparison between the league’s salary structures. The truth is many NFL players want to play for organizations that are contenders and Griffin is a difference maker.

        • eldaveablo

          I also would rather not give up the farm for RG3. The clincher is that he would not be nearly as productive playing Shurmurball. The Shannahan’s were playing chess while Shurm was losing to a chicken in tic tac toe. On top of that RG3 would have been just good enough to salvage Shurmur’s job, not to mention, I doubt Lerner would sell the team immediately after acquiring a marketing superstar.

      • atdietz80

        2012 was the year of the rookie quarterback. Whiff.

        • Cranky M

          Oh, so GM’s are now only judged on QB’s, as opposed to the numerous other picks that they make?
          Hell, why do they even have the draft set up the way they do then? They should just bring the eligible QB’s to the draft room, let the GM’s have at them, and then just hand out/assign the other position players after the fact, since they don’t matter at all. Only QB’s matter!

          (So, of course, let’s completely ignore the fact that he built a beastly d-line, a receiving corps with absurd potential, strengthened the o-line and LB’s and DB’s, added depth, etc etc etc. Non of that matters, because he didn’t trade for RGIII.
          I say this based upon your comments as a whole, and not just this specific one: you strike me as the epitome of everything that is bad about a certain type of sports fan.))

          • atdietz80

            Yeah, let’s ignore the fact that he spent more picks on the d-line then any other position. It had better be good. I know that two picks were wasted…err spent on QB’s. I know that the NFL is a quarterback league and not a defensive line league. That recipe is difficult to cultivate into superbowls. The Ravens and the Bears did it in a one-off fashion.

      • alexb

        If he’s responsible for our drafting the last couple years, with the exception of Weedon and McCoy, I think we’ve done real well. I love RG but the price really was too high. We wouldn’t have been able to put a decent team around him for years with all we would have given up. We’re gonna have a shot this year at one of the best defensive drafts in a long long time.

        • BIKI024

          would be nice to get a Bulldog in da Dawg Pound! Jarvis Jones would be slick!

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Jarvis Jones will be gone by the time the Browns pick.

  • nj0

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    headpiece filled with straw…

    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

  • rodofdisaster

    By request, I am re-posting in the open thread:

    New Essay:

    As I mentioned via twitter…I’m dumping that Colts’ pick.

    My new essay, The Pittsburgh Steelers -10

    I knew I had to change my pick and I was not aware that this was to be an official swan song for Pat Shurmur, but it will be.

    To me it would be only fitting after the reaction we saw from Haslam during his first game in the luxury suite.

    Was there ever really a doubt that after pouring his money into this franchise that he wasn’t going to go “all in” with this particular coach? The coach who called two running plays in Baltimore inside the 10, inside two minutes with no time outs? The coach who called time outs down three scores in the waning moments to see his backup QB and his starting (and already dinged up) running back injured to end their season? The same coach who punted on 4th and short in plus territory AND calling timeout before doing so?

    Alas Pat, the answers were never in that playcard that you hid behind. Your predecessor may not have given the best press conferences but you took it down a level to berating the press and condescension.

    Sunday, your charges take the field for the final time under your leadership. Their reactions will be telling. It won’t be the teary “goodbye” at the final gun; it will be the “why the hell should I risk life and limb down three scores in the third quarter” body language that will say it all.

    The only lament is that your absolute incompetence will torpedo Tom Heckert as well who many would argue was improving this team.

    Oh yeah. The Steelers are showing up too.

  • rodofdisaster


    Holy crap! The Texans are hammering him!

  • munasrevenge

    I feel like the title of this post should be punctuated with “….?”, in horror movie “is he REALLY dead?” style.

    I would take Wisenhunt in a heartbeat if he frees up. Would love Mangini to come back but I’m not sure he’s itching to get back into coaching. I’m sure we will end up with Jack Del Rio somehow though.

  • dwhalen

    Half a league, half a league,

    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the Cowboys.
    “Forward, Tony Romo!
    Charge for the guns!” he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the Cowboys.

    “Forward, Jerry Jones’ glasses wiper guy!”
Was there a man dismayed?
In the land a few states
    east of Illinois:
 his not to make reply,
his not to reason why,
his but to do
    and die:
 Into the valley of Death 
Rode the Cowboys.

    RG3’s arm cannon to right of them,
 London Fletcher’s pants cannon to left of them,
 Doug Free’s poop cannon in front of them–they follied and got destroyed; 
Stormed at with run and pass,
 Boldly they rode but not so fast, 
Into the jaws of Death, 
Into the mouth
    of Hell
 Rode the Cowboys.

    Flashed all their asses bare, 
Flashed as they threw into the air, 
mooning all the Redskins there,
 fighting for playoffs,
 All the world watched with Joy:
Plunged in the endzone-smoke,
 Right through the line they broke;

    Romo and Witten 
Reeled from Jerry’s Joke, 

    Shattered and without poise.
 Then they rode back, but
Not the Cowboys.

    Cross Dressing Piggies to the right of them,

    Shanahans to left of them,
 SkyCam behind them,
 fumbled and toyed;
 Stormed at with Morris and Garcon,

    While eating shit and getting owned,
back to Dallas they aimlessly roamed,

    never coming through the jaws of Death,

    Back from the mouth of Hell,

    All that was left of them,

    was Demarcus Ware, and one ugly fucking power-loving Billionaire.

    When can their glory fade?
 O the horrid charge they made!
 All the world if given the choice: Should they pick between the girls
    or the boys, all would choose the Cheerleaders.
    And not one, not one would choose the Cowboys.

    SKINS -3.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Someone had blunder’d.

  • BIKI024


    BOYS +3

    Everybody and their grandma wants RG3 to continue his magical rookie season into the playoffs but this time I think Rob Ryan has put together a plan to keep the Skins under 20. As long as they do that I think Romo and Co can put up some points against a very overachieving Redskins defense who statistically is the THIRD worst in the league against the pass and FIFTH worst overall in yards allowed.

    Boys didn’t have DeMarco Murray in the last game which should add another dimension to the offense that threw it 62 times in their last meeting.

    Plus I’m not sure Robert’s knee is fully healed which may limit him a bit.

    Bottom line, I’ve done well rollin with the bookies all year and like my homeboys De La Soul, I’m keepin the faith..

  • bossman09

    It must really pain you that Rob Ryan is almost as good a defensive coordinator as Jauron. Almost…

    • Cleveland Frowns

      It must really pain you to be so bad at reading. I’ve always been clear on the point that most of the success Ryan had in Cleveland was due to Mangini’s oversight.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        “Mangini’s oversight”?

        Would you care to rephrase that counselor? It can be taken in a variety of ways.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    I am very happy to quote that idiot Mike Tyson and note that now we can all watch Shurmie “fade into Bolivia”.

  • nj0

    Here’s a rule that I’ve learned from the Browns for any of you out there who may end up getting a GM or head coaching job in the NFL – if your boss tells you have three or five or whatever years to get things done, cut that in half and round it down.

    • Chris Mc

      I think you should consider trying that in any line of work.

  • nj0

    So in two years, Mangini manages to go 10-22 with a completely stripped down roster. Shurmur, with three years of Heckert magic, goes 9-23.

    • BIKI024

      Heckert magic will be evident in these next couple years when his guys have got some experience under their belt. he’s brought in 28 rookies in his 3 offseasons that will most likely be on the 53 going into next year, bringing our total up to 34 players who were drafted or undrafted 1st year FA’s by the Browns. 30 is the bare minimum common denominator of homegrown guys required for a team to have sustainable success. when you have a group of guys who only know about that one team and are all going through the same grind together year after year, the chemistry naturally develops. teams like NE have 40 homegrown, the Giants have 42, the list goes on and on and on..

      the 2010 draft still had Mangini’s scouts but we still did well with 3 starters in Haden (starter), Ward (starter), Lavauo (starter), and a backup in Colt.

      2011 draft we did a little better by adding: Taylor (starter), Sheard (starter), Little (starter), Pinkston (starter) Cameron (key role player), Robertson (LB depth) Skrine (DB depth), and Hagg (DB depth)

      2012 in my opinion was his best, by adding: Trent (starter), Weeds (starter?), Schwartz (starter), Gordon (starter), JMJ (starter), Winn (key rotation player on DL), Hughes (key rotation on DL), T.Benj (key role player), LJ Fort (LB depth), Gipson (DB depth, ST) Cooper (WR depth), Bademosi (DB depth, ST stud), Wade (DB depth, ST) Carder (LB depth, ST), Kitchen (DL depth), Miller (OL depth)

      this roster is ripe for the next coach and GM. with another solid grouping of Top 100 draft picks (#6, #69, #101) and $40m in cap room, I really feel that we are close to having a legit 53 from top to bottom.

      of course the largest question remaining is the ability of the QB, so we’ll obviously see how that plays out. there will be a few vet QBs out there that we can bring in to push and help Weeds (Hasselbeck, etc) or go after Alex Smith.

      • nj0

        #101 is not a top 100 pick.

        Yeah, I read your WHOLE post with all those facts and points only to nitpick that one little issue.

        I agree though. Heckert’s ability to acquire young talent will be judged in the next few years.

        That said, NFL GM’s have to learn that if you want to keep your job you can’t just go pure youth movement and wait for that to mature in five years. Like Frowns pointed out with Mangini’s handling of the roster (which was tactically weak but strategically strong IMO), you have to mix rookies, vets, FA, UFAs in so you can compete as soon as possible. You don’t do that, pink slipped. NFL = not for long.

        Which, while it sucks for Heckert, may be to our long term benefit. That is, if his picks pan out.

        Sadly for him, I think his enduring legacy to the average fan will not only be missing out on RG3, but also drafting the big QB lemon in what may end up being one of the deepest QB drafts in a while.

        • BIKI024

          i’m not sure the reason why he was fired was due to his on the job performance, but that his role doesn’t fit in the hierarchy that is Banner’s vision of him running the front office, with HC having final say on 53.

          • nj0

            Good point. That actually looks to be the case.

            Still, if we had improved every year and were a playoff team then maybe things would have worked out differently. Or maybe not.

            My biggest ? with Heckert was his supposed respect for Shurmur as a head coach. Just something he had to say or honest truth?

          • Cranky M

            I’m going to go out on a limb and say it would be frowned upon in NFL circles for a GM to criticize his own team’s coach. So yes, something he had to say.

  • nj0

    I didn’t get to see the whole game yesterday. What was the consensus on Thad Lewis? The little I saw of him in the first quarter probably exceeded expectations. Not that I’m calling for him to start or anything.

    • GrandRapidsRustlers

      Not bad. I think he will be one of the 64 guys who dresses next year on a Sunday and calls himself a QB.

      Made quick decisions…not always the best ones and did not embarrass himself at all.

      The one thing I learned at the end of the game was that Ryan Miller may never play a snap again in the NFL after almost getting a QB killed on back to back plays.

      • jimkanicki

        omg, how bad was miller. whoa.

        • GrandRapidsRustlers

          Miller is confusing to me because he was SO much better his junior year. I chalked up the struggles as a senior to the coaching change and thought it was good value in the late rounds.

          I was wrong. Really really really wrong.

          • BIKI024

            dudes, it was his first action of the season. against one of the best front 7’s in the NFL. not saying the guy has starter potential, but let’s put him through LeCharles’ camp before we cut him..

          • jimkanicki

            his whiffs yesterday were exactly the same as in the senior bowl drills. like every time. just sayin.

    • bupalos

      I thought he was equal to Weeden or Colt anyway. That is the #1 defense in the NFL, and they moved the ball a bit, and without the turnover diff and missed FG should have put up a respectable 20. At least one of these three QB’s probably has to go next year to make room for either the stabilizing vet or next project depending on how the new guy wants to play it. I guess I’d probably let it be chips.

      Anyone up for Ryan Nasib if he’s there with our 2?

      • atdietz80

        Thad looked to have command of the offense and could make the throws in the Chips Mcoy range. I liked his aggressiveness . That said, he’s properly cast as a 3rd string QB.

        • BIKI024

          goes to show what being in a system for 3 years can do for a guy..

          • atdietz80

            Yeah, I suppose. It sure didn’t give him arm strength, though. You must really have hope for Brandon Weeden. He shit the bed too many times this year: the Philly game and the Washington game in particular. I am not sure how high his ceiling is, but I do know that his floor is subterranean.

  • nj0

    From Tom Reed’s PD article…

    “Lewis scrambled left, bought time and waited for Greg Little to flash open in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard strike to tie it at 10.”

    To the very end, our Shurmurballers were flashing… gotta respect that… kinda brings a tear to my eye…

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